I had an opportunity to see more pumpkin varieties this fall at the Boone Farmers Market than anywhere else at one time. So when I was offered a couple of heirloom varieties to play with after Halloween by a local shop, of course I jumped at the offer.
But first, a bit of history provided by the University of Illinois: “Native Americans dried strips of pumpkin and wove them into mats. They also roasted long strips of pumpkin on the open fire and ate them. The origin of pumpkin pie occurred when the colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and filled the inside with milk, spices and honey. The pumpkin was then baked in hot ashes.” Sort of a pumpkin custard and not too dissimilar from what we eat today as a pie.
The orange pumpkin pictured above had a texture similar to spaghetti squash so I was careful not to take too much out when I cleaned it. The blue pumpkin was more like butternut squash in consistency. I tried two tests on the initial cooking method. I skinned part of them partially and roasted 1″ pieces with some olive oil. Then, I left the skin on some pieces and cut them into wedges and roasted them with no oil. In both cases the pumpkin was covered with foil to retain moisture. It was much easier to roast them with the skin on because I didn’t have to check the temperature of the grill as closely. I do most of my roasting on the grill. Without the skin, you have to make sure your browning doesn’t go the route of burning; which can happen pretty quickly when you’re at 450F. The squash came out of the skin easily and I think I lost less flesh that way too.
At this point, I’ve mashed the pumpkin and put some of it in the freezer and some of it has been magically turned into pumpkin waffles, which are pretty high in nutrition value compared to normal waffles and they freeze well. Personally, I like mine with a bit of maple syrup and granola or just some pecans for added crunch. I was really pleased to be able to use my home-made canned applesauce in this recipe too. The only thing missing was some whipped cream. Maybe next time.
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup wheat/white flour
- ¼ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs separated
- 1 cup mashed pumpkin (fresh baked or canned)
- ¼ cup smooth applesauce
- 2 cups low-fat milk
Sift or mix with a whisk the dry ingredients together. Set aside.
Mix the egg yolks with the pumpkin, applesauce and milk until well blended.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and blend well.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and then fold them gently in thirds into the other mixture. Don’t worry about incorporating them completely.
Use a hot waffle iron coated with butter, margarine (I use a non-hydrogenated form) or coconut oil to keep the waffles from sticking. These can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen in baggies and reheated in the toaster oven later. If you plan to freeze them, just barely finish cooking them, but don’t brown them in the waffle iron. Let them come to room temperature before toasting so they don’t burn but do have time to brown and warm through completely. Makes about 10-12 waffles depending on the size of waffle iron.